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INFO DRIVE ON RT-PCR TEST PRICE CAP URGED

Deputy Speaker Eddie Villanueva said the government should strengthen its information dissemination on its policy of setting a lowered price cap on real time-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing in the country.

Villanueva said the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Trade and Industry should make their messaging “unambiguous” and execute a “more vigorous information dissemination” campaign regarding the recent circular imposing a price limit on RT-PCR testing, which aims to “benefit Filipinos by enabling them to reduce healthcare-related expenses and preserve their pandemic-stricken savings”.

“Intensifying information dissemination on the matter would address concerns regarding persisting exorbitant overpricing of RT-PCR testing.”

The Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) party-list lawmaker said intensifying information dissemination on the matter would address concerns regarding persisting exorbitant overpricing of RT-PCR testing.

According to the DOH Circular No. 2021-03, which became effective on Sept. 6, plate-based RT-PCR should only now cost P2,800 in public health facilities and P3,360 in private service providers.

Cartridge-based testing should only now amount to a maximum of P2,450 and P2,940 in public and private service providers, respectively.

Private testing centers can charge only up to 20 percent of the price as allowable mark-up.

In addition, a P1,000 price cap on home service fee is also imposed.

Senior citizens and persons with disability (PWD) discounts are applicable to the total amount of the service/s rendered.

“Beset by an inflation rate that recently jumped to 4 percent, the highest since January 2019, Filipinos are still entangled in a complex of problems created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why the lowered price cap for RT-PCR tests should come as an unequivocal good news to Filipinos,” the legislator stressed.

The lawmaker said deterring overpricing by imposing punishment on violators would be effective in ensuring that Filipinos are “protected from these predators”.

“Those who would exploit and seek to profit from the suffering of their fellowmen must be punished.”

“Those who would exploit and seek to profit from the suffering of their fellowmen must be punished. Thus, I call for the serious implementation of the Circular. The reality on the ground is that many greedy people have disproportionately profited off their countrymen who simply wanted to ensure their families’ safety and health amid the pandemic,” he concluded.

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